The National Softball Hall of Fame is the ultimate goal for any player, coach, umpire or administrator who aspire to greatness in the sport. With over 400 inductees, the National Softball Hall of Fame is among the most difficult sports halls in the nation in which to gain membership.
Take a moment to browse through the Hall of Fame section and learn more about some of the sport’s greatest athletes and their accomplishments. If you get a chance to visit us in person while in Oklahoma City, please observe these hours of operation:
The Hall of Fame and Museum does not charge, but donations are greatly appreciated and accepted. Your donations help keep this history of softball alive through exhibit updates, upkeep and restoration projects.
The National Softball Hall of Fame and Museum was established in 1957. Once USA Softball moved to Oklahoma City January 1, 1966 after having its offices in Newark, NJ, the decision to establish a Hall of Fame Building in Oklahoma City was made in January of 1965. Groundbreaking ceremonies for the Hall of Fame were held December 19, 1970 in Oklahoma City. The late John Nagy, former Cleveland Metro commissioner, was USA Softball President at that time. Hall of Famers Harold (Shifty) Gears and Carolyn Thome Hart were among those attending the ceremonies.
The National Softball Hall of Fame was officially dedicated May 26, 1973 in Oklahoma City. The building was opened to the public July 1, 1973.
The first of two additions to the National Softball Hall of Fame/USA Softball Headquarters was started July 5, 1976 and completed July 13, 1977 for an additional 4,350 square feet of space. Dedication ceremonies for the expansion were held July 23, 1977. Counting the National Softball Hall of Fame/USA Softball Headquarters and the USA Softball Hall of Fame Complex, there is 28,406 square feet of space.
A second expansion was added July of 1980 for an additional 5,182 square feet of space, with total footage 18,140 square feet of space.
The National Softball Hall of Fame and Museum has over 400 members with two categories of membership: players and non players. Within the player category, there are five categories: Men’s/Women’s Fast Pitch, Men’s/Women’s Slow Pitch and Modified Pitch. Within the non player category, there are five different divisions one can be nominated in: Commissioner, Meritorious Service, Umpire, Managers and Sponsors. A nominee needs 75 percent (nine votes) of the votes cast by the 12 member Hall of Fame Committee to be elected. Annual inductions are held at the USA Softball Annual Meeting.
Through our vast collection of artifacts, the National Softball Hall of Fame and Museum strives to educate the public about softball’s rich history. Your support is critical to these efforts.
The Hall of Fame Donation Fund was established to ensure that the National Softball Hall of Fame has a future and is committed to educating people about the great former players and non players and the role they played in the development of the sport.
Your tax-deductible contribution helps the National Softball Hall of Fame continue its mission of educating, collecting and honoring as well as the preservation of the history of softball, the maintaining of present exhibits and purchase of new exhibits and possible expansion of the Hall of Fame building.
Due to the volume of offers we receive, we cannot accept the donation of an artifact without a completed artifact description form. Please see our Mission Statement and Collections Management Policy to see what types of objects we will and will not accept. Once we have received your form, our staff will evaluate the object’s potential and will be in contact with you as to whether or not we will be able to accept the donation. If your object is chosen, the donated material will be recommended to the Executive Director for consideration. Following the meeting a staff member will contact you regarding the next steps.
- National Softball Hall of Fame 1950’s
- National Softball Hall of Fame 1960’s
- National Softball Hall of Fame 1970’s
- National Softball Hall of Fame 1980’s
- National Softball Hall of Fame 1990’s
- National Softball Hall of Fame 2000’s
- National Softball Hall of Fame 2010’s
NATIONAL SOFTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 1980
Harold S. Adams, Topeka, Kansas – Umpire
Began umpiring in 1960 and was Kansas State UIC from1970-1978. Served as president, vice president, secretary-treasurer, and rules interpreter for the Topeka Softball Umpires’ Association (1963-1979). Named National Deputy UIC for Western Region and metro area in 1976. Appointed senior deputy for Central Region states in 1977. Umpired in six ASA national championships, including five Men’s Major Fast Pitch Nationals and 1976 ISF Men’s World Fast Pitch Championship. Served as UIC at two Women’s College World Series and two ASA nationals. Regarded as an outstanding clinician, he died on January 30, 1979 after suffering a heart attack. He was born in 1929.
Ivie C. Apple, Greensboro, North Carolina – Umpire
Was involved with umpiring for 50 years after umpiring his first game in 1938. Umpired in 11 ASA nationals and served as North Carolina UIC from 1959-1973. Apple died August 20, 1988 at age 87.
Ward B. “Bick” Auxier, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Commissioner
Involved in softball for more than 40 years. Started career as an umpire and is one of few commissioners to have served as a state and metro commissioner. Was named Metro Oklahoma City commissioner in 1950 and served until 1954. In 1955, was named state commissioner and remained in that position until he became metro commissioner again in 1969 and remained in that position until retiring after the 1989 season. Besides being Metro Oklahoma commissioner, was president of the Oklahoma City Softball Association. After retiring in 1989, was named commissioner emeritus. Was 13th ASA Commissioner elected to Hall of Fame. Served as Southwest Region vice president three times. Was born March 1, 1920 and was 79 at the time of his death, April 7, 1999.
George T. Cron, Elizabeth, New Jersey – Commissioner
Became commissioner of New Jersey in 1943 and served more than 50 years until his passing. Was president of the ASA from 1960-61. He was chairman of the International Joint Rules Committee on Softball. (1950-1975). Past president of the Amateur Athletic Union. George was a member of the ASA Executive Board from 1961 to 1994. In 1941, he became assistant New Jersey Commissioner under Gene Martin before being named commissioner. Was Mid-Atlantic vice-president in 1991. Played college basketball at Long Island University. Was inducted into the Golden Gloves Hall of Fame in 1988. Named AAU Man of the Year in 1968. Was lifetime member of the AAU from 1956-1994. Was inducted into New Jersey Hall of Fame in 1961. Was director of parks and recreation for County of Union, NJ for 45 years. Was born December 12, 1911 and died on April 17, 1994 at age 82 in Milwaukee, WI.
Jean Daves, Orlando, Florida – Women’s Fast Pitch – Pitcher
Hall of Fame pitcher Jean Daves did not have the benefit of individual pitching lessons or clinics to develop as a fast pitch softball hurler and ultimately earn enshrinement into the ASA Hall of Fame. Daves taught herself growing up in Canton, NC. “I used to throw a ball into a blanket strung over clothesline. My mother never wanted me to play, but my dad always did,” said Daves. “I taught myself most of the different pitches. But I was a finesse pitcher, not an overpowering one.” Daves played for teams in Atlanta, GA, Birmingham, AL and Washington, DC before joining the Orlando Rebels in 1964. She spent the last eight years of her 20-year career with Orlando and set team single-season records for wins, 40 in 1970; shutouts, 30 in 1966; strikeouts, 485 in 1967; most consecutive wins, 21 in 1966; most consecutive scoreless innings, 95 in 1965; most no-hitters, nine in 1967 and most innings pitched, 344 in 1970. She was born April 7, 1934. Daves won 255 games and lost 59 with 41 no-hitters and 197 shutouts. She struck out 2,944 batters in 2,370 innings and was a first-team All-America in 1966, 1970, 1971 and a second-team choice in 1967, 1968 and 1969. She had a 25-15 record in national championship play, retiring in 1971.
Harold Engelhardt, Indianapolis, Indiana – Meritorious Service
Former Metro Indianapolis ASA commissioner (1962-80). Also is a member of the Metro Indianapolis ASA Hall of Fame. Was also known for his promotion of amateur basketball and boxing. Named to the Indiana Hall of Fame for basketball in 1968. In 1975, he was honored by the Indianapolis Old Timers Club. He was a charter member of the AAU Golden Gloves program in Indianapolis. Served as ASA vice-president from 1972-1973. Is a life member of the ASA. He formed the Central Indiana Softball League in 1966. Brought the ASA Men’s Major Fast Pitch National to Indianapolis, IN in 1966. Owned his own softball stadium and sold it in 1962. He died at age 83 on March 26, 1987.
Nick Frannicola, Newark, New Jersey – Meritorious Service
Was involved with ASA since its founding in 1933. Served as New Jersey deputy commissioner under Gene Martin from 1933-1940. Was Eastern Area vice president from 1967-1968. Was chairman of the ASA Umpires Committee from 1965-1977. Was inducted into New Jersey State Hall of Fame in 1971 and Newark Hall of Fame in 1978. Gave numerous clinics, including the first Armed Forces Softball Clinic overseas in 1950. Taught at Holy Trinity in Westfield, NJ, then spent three years in Army. Obtained a master’s degree at Seton Hall (1948) and spent 32 years as physical education instructor at Woodridge High School, Woodridge, NJ. Also officiated high school and college basketball games. Was appointed Metro Newark UIC in 1946. Was softball director of Newark Recreation Department from 1947-1968. Was named Newark Metro commissioner in 1962. His son, Angelo, replaced him as Metro Newark commissioner in 1981. Nick died at age 73 September 26, 1983. He was born September 9, 1910.
Ford Hoffman, Phoenix, Arizona – Manager
General manager and coach of the Phoenix, AZ Ramblers women’s fast pitch team from 1933 until it disbanded in 1958. Team won ASA national titles in 1940, 1948 and 1949. From 1958-1959, he served as president of the ASA. Was ASA Arizona commissioner for 20 years. Organized and was president of the Arizona Softball Foundation. Was a charter member and vice chairman of the National Hall of Fame Selection Committee. After retiring from softball, Hoffman worked in real estate and bred rabbits. He was a graduate of Northern Arizona University and coached football at Arizona State College in Tempe, AZ. Hoffman died on August 23, 1989 of bone cancer. He was 81 years old.
James F. Jones, Boston, Massachusetts – Meritorious Service
Served as Metro Boston ASA commissioner from 1949-1970. Was a member of the International Joint Rules Committee on Softball. As a retired insurance executive, he served as chairman of the Insurance Committee as well as on other committees. Former regional vice-president for two years. Former chairman of the Umpires Committee. Conducted numerous clinics for Armed Forces as well as throughout the New England Region. Is deceased.
Marge Ricker, Orlando, Florida – Manager
Led Orlando, FL Rebels to ASA national title in 1981, upsetting the favored Raybestos Brakettes of Stratford, CT. In 32 years compiled record of 1,470 wins and 476 losses for a winning percentage of .760. In 26 nationals, the Rebels finished fifth or higher 22 times. Ricker started Orlando Rebels in 1954. By winning 1981 national title, Rebels qualified for ISF World Championship and they placed fourth with a 7-3 record in 1982. Ricker coached her last Rebel team in 1985 (55-12) and tied for fifth at the national tourney. Although no longer coaching, she was still active in softball with the Rebel Spring Games in late February for more than 100 university and college division teams. Ricker died on January 16, 2013.
Frank Susor, Poland, Ohio – Umpire
Was an original member of Tom Mason’s four person National Umpire staff from 1966-1979. He spent five years as a minor league baseball umpire in his distinguished 40-year career. As an ASA umpire officiated 10 Women’s Nationals, two Men’s Nationals, one ISF Men’s World Fast Pitch Tourney (1968) and four Interservice Tournaments. Was UIC for 15 ASA nationals. Was inducted into Curbstone Coaches’ Hall of Fame, Youngstown, OH in 1978. Born December 21, 1911. Frank died on July 10, 1995 at age 83.
Matt Urban, Holland, Michigan – Commissioner
Former Michigan ASA commissioner who won nation’s highest military honor, the Congressional Medal of Honor, and a total of 29 medals for bravery. He is the most decorated combat soldier in U.S. history. Was named Michigan ASA commissioner in 1960 and served five years as regional vice-president. Was on selection committee for the Pan American Games in 1979, the first-time softball was an official sport of the Games. Matt died on March 4, 1995 at age 75. Served as Holland, MI director of recreation from 1974 to 1989.
Ron Weathersby, Cuthbert, Georgia – Men’s Fast Pitch – Outfield
When the Clearwater, FL Bombers needed a clutch hit to keep a rally going, more often than not Ron Weathersby came through. One of Weathersby’s most memorable hits came in the 1966 national championship when he hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning to beat Providence, 4-2, to give the Bombers their eighth national title. Weathersby called winning that title the greatest thrill of his 16-year career. Weathersby was a member of four national championship teams and four runners-up. Four times he earned ASA first-team All-America honors: 1964, (.412),1966 (.267), 1967 (.389) and 1973, and played in 12 ASA national championships. He also played in three All-Star Fast Pitch Series and batted .500 in the 1967 Series. Besides his clutch hitting, Weathersby also excelled on defense. Said former teammate Doug Mason. “You can’t measure his contribution because of the respect he demanded from his teammates and his leadership. Barring pitchers, Ron was the best softball player in the game.” Weathersby had some impressive seasons for the Bombers, including 1964 (.338 BA), 1966 (.300 BA, 20 homers and 43 RBIs) and 1968 (.311 BA, 7 homers and 57 RBIs).He retired in 1974 as an active player but came back to manage the Bombers in 1977 (11th ) and 1978 (runner-up). Born October 5, 1940, Weathersby is clerk of Circuit Court in Bay County, FL. He and his wife, Pam, have two children.
NATIONAL SOFTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 1981
George Adam, Branford, Connecticut – Men’s Fast Pitch – First Base
When it came to playing first base, George Adam was among the best. Not only an outstanding fielder, but he could also beat you offensively. After beginning his almost three-decade career in 1952, Adam played for some of the nation’s top major caliber fast pitch teams, including Briggs Beautyware of Detroit, MI, Trenton Democratic Club of Baltimore, MD, DeJur Cameramen, Long Island, NY, Raybestos Cardinals of Stratford, CT, Little Brahaus Brewers of Poughkeepsie, NY and Interstate Batterymen of Spencer, MA. He earned All-America honors 11 times including nine times to the first team (1952-56, 1958-59, 1962 and 1971) and twice (1960 and 1972) to the second team. He played in 17 ASA nationals and had an accumulative .275 batting average with 72 hits in 262 at-bats. Six times Adam was a member of a national championship team five times with the Raybestos Cardinals of Stratford, CT (1955, 1958, 1969, 1970 and 1972) and once with Briggs Beautyware (1954). He also played on four teams that finished runner-up in the national tourney. Adam retired from active play following the 1977 season.
Charles “Budd” Gilbert, Cliffside Park, New Jersey – Meritorious Service
Gilbert joined Dudley Sports Company in 1953 as sales manager and in 1962 became vice president and chief executive officer. In 1970, he became president of Dudley. He was a strong supporter of numerous ASA programs and events. He originated hospitality rooms at the ASA annual meeting that eventually attracted other manufacturers and exhibitors, which led to commercial exhibits. Through his pioneering of the cork-center softball, the standard of ball manufacturing improved, helping the development and growth of the sport. Both directly and indirectly, Gilbert provided much needed financial support for many ASA activities at all levels through strong sponsor support. He also was responsible for helping ASA in securing revenue through a licensing program that was eventually joined by other manufacturers.
Arnold “Red” Halpern, Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho – Commissioner
Served as Idaho commissioner from 1959 to 2002. Was 23rd president of the ASA from 1982-1983. Was third person from the Pacific Northwest to serve as ASA president. Former chairman of the ASA Junior Olympic program and former member of the National Softball Hall of Fame Selection Committee. Served two terms as Northwest vice-president and was chief of delegation for USA teams in first Junior World Fast Pitch Championship in Edmonton, Alberta Canada in 1981. Was named Pacific Northwest Most Outstanding Park and Recreation Professional in 1981. Was first president of the Idaho Recreation and Park Society. In 1992, received the Professional Emeritus Award by the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of the National Recreation and Park Association. Also received the Gar Anderson Award as one of Idaho’s outstanding sportsmen. Served from 1954-1985 as director of the Coeur d’Alene, ID Recreation Department. In 2001. Halpern was inducted into the Idaho Athletic Hall of Fame. Also is member of the Idaho Sports Hall of Fame, Inland Empire Hall of Fame, Idaho Hall of Fame and Pacific Northwest Hall of Fame. Halpern died on October 3, 2003 at age 79.
Arthur Noren, Pompano Beach, Florida – Meritorious Service
A 1921 graduate of Springfield College who received advanced degrees from Columbia University and New York University, Noren was named secretary in 1923 of a committee of five recreation leaders who codified and unified the rules of softball. Noren remained as secretary until retiring June 24, 1978. In 1934, the original committee was expanded to include representatives of other national organizations and assumed the name of The Joint Rules Committee on Softball. In 1954, other national organizations including the ASA were invited to join. In 1936, the JRCOS incorporated under the name of The International Joint Rules Committee on Softball and accepted representatives from several countries to serve on the committee. In 1936 published the first book on softball to be accepted and placed in the Library of Congress. Noren died on March 21, 1982 at age 82.
Bill Parker, Lake Wales, Florida – Men’s Fast Pitch – Second Base
Versatility marked Bill Parker’s fast pitch softball career. Parker could play just about any position in softball and almost did after joining the Clearwater, FL Bombers in 1962, playing the outfield, second base and third base. A year earlier Parker batted .364 (4-for-11) in the national championship for Homestead, FL and was noticed by the Bombers. The 1961 tourney was the first of 11 national championships Parker played in, including nine with the Bombers. In 11 nationals he batted .257 with 44 hits in 171 at-bats, scoring 26 runs and driving in 17. Six times Parker earned ASA All-America honors including first-team honors in 1966 (.357), 1967 and 1968 (.333) and second team in 1962, (.176), 1964 (.308) and 1965 (.211). In 1967, Parker batted .409 in the national championship to lead all hitters. In 1968, he was captain of the Men’s Major Fast Pitch All-Stars, a role not unfamiliar for Parker who was named captain of the Bombers in 1964.In 1963, Parker set a Bomber record for consecutive game hitting streak, 18, and most games with two or more hits, 10. He also had a streak of 12 consecutive hits that season. He was the second Bomber to have 100 or more hits in a season. In 1970 he led the team with a .353 batting average. Parker played on five national championship teams, two runners-up, and two third place finishers. After retiring, he managed the Bombers to a second place in 1972 and to their 10th national title in 1973. Parker was born February 9, 1933 in Lake Wales, FL on April 3, 2005 Parker died of a heart attack. He was 72 years old.
Vince Scamardella, Staten Island, New York – Meritorious Service
The father of modified pitch softball, Scamardella was credited with getting modified pitch recognized as a division of championship play in the ASA. He later chaired the first Modified Rules Committee. Former Metro New York commissioner, he developed the first lighted softball field on Staten Island. Former star hurler. He also umpired 15 years during his career. Is commissioner emeritus. Scamardella died on April 13, 2017.
Carol Spanks, Whittier, California – Women’s Fast Pitch – Shortstop
When Carol Spanks threw out the ceremonial first pitch before UCLA played Washington for the NCAA title May 31, 1999 in Oklahoma City it could have been her last pitch. After the delivery, Spank came to the sidelines, where she was greeted by well-wishers and former players, including Lisa Fernandez, who hugged. Spanks announced earlier her retirement from softball. It closed the book on one of the outstanding careers in softball as a player and a coach spanning more than four decades. For five years, Spanks served as co-head coach at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas after spending 15 years as head coach at Cal Poly Pomona, Pomona, CA. She concluded her coaching career with an overall record of 725 wins, 433 losses and five ties. UNLV honored Spanks May 6th, 1999 following its game against Utah. In 15 seasons at Cal Poly, she had a record of 577 wins, 310 losses and five ties, for a winning percentage of .650. She led them to 11 postseason appearances (three AIAW and eight NCAA). As a player, Spanks was one of the greatest of all-time, earning ASA All-America honors 14 times in 19 national championships. She was a member of four national championship teams, 1962, 1965, 1969 and 1970, playing for the Orange, CA Lionettes. She started playing softball in 1951 for the Buena Park, CA Kittens and eventually joined the Buena Park Lynx, a nationally known team, and stayed with them until joining the famed Orange, CA Lionettes in 1958. She retired in 1975.
Harvey Sterkel, Denver, Colorado – Men’s Fast Pitch – Pitcher
When Harvey Sterkel arrived in Aurora, IL in 1956, it was the start of a new era. And what an era it turned out to be. Not only did Sterkel establish himself as one of the game’s great pitchers, but he put the Aurora Sealmasters team on the softball map. Between 1956-1969, Sterkel won 345 games and lost only 33. He hurled 2,599 innings, walked 415 batters, and struck out 5,212. He hurled 60 no-hitters and 15 perfect games, and his ERA was 0.34. Between 1965-1968, he won 52 games in a row. Sterkel helped Aurora win four ASA national fast pitch championships. He compiled a 43-24 record in 22 ASA national championships and earned ASA All-America honors eight times. Twice (1956 and 1959) he was the MVP in the Men’s Major Fast Pitch National Championship.In the 1959 national, Sterkel lived up to his nickname of “The Horse,” by winning eight of nine games to pitch the Sealmasters to their first national title. There was nothing easy about winning the title. After losing his opener to Clearwater, Sterkel came back to win eight games in a row. He hurled three of the wins on the tourney’s final day including beating Clearwater twice by identical 1-0 scores. He shares the record for most games won in a national fast pitch tournament (8) and formerly shared the record for most strikeouts in a seven-inning game, 19. Besides the national championships, Sterkel also achieved a 7-0 record in the first two ISF World Championships (1966 and 1968), striking out 70 batters in 45 1/3 innings. For his outstanding performance in these two World Championships, Strekel was inducted into the ISF Hall of Fame November 14, 2002.
Shirley Topley Hondo, Alberta, Canada – Women’s Fast Pitch – First Base
Growing up in Hondo, Alberta, Canada, Shirley Topley excelled in different sports, but it would be softball in which she established herself as one of the greatest players of all-time. As a member of several Canadian teams, Topley displayed outstanding abilities at-bat and on defense. She was second-team All-America in 1960 for the South Hill Queens of Vancouver, BC. This earned her a spot on the roster for the 1961 Women’s Major Fast Pitch All-Series against the national champion. Orange, CA second baseman and owner Ricki Caito was so impressed with Topley that she asked her to join the team in 1962. That year, Shirley helped the Lionettes win the national title and earn another All-America selection. For the next two years, Shirley played for the Raybestos Brakettes of Stratford, CT before re-joining the Lionettes in 1965 and remaining through 1975. The two years Shirley played for the Brakettes she led in batting with averages of .372 and .340. Between 1967 and 1972, Topley coached the Lionettes to 389 wins, 67 losses and three ties. In this span, the Lionettes won two ASA national titles (1969 and 1970), seven Pacific Coast Women’s League titles and a silver medal in the 1970 ISF Women’s World Championship. She participated in 16 ASA nationals and was a member of five national championship teams and five runners-up. She was an ASA All-American 11 times. Topley served as one of the assistant coaches for the 2000 USA Olympic Team. Topley was born April 14, 1934.
NATIONAL SOFTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 1982
Fred G. Blum, Rochester, New York – Commissioner
Served 25 years as Metro Rochester ASA commissioner (1951-1975) and was president of the ASA from 1968-1969. One of charter members elected to the New York State ASA Hall of Fame in 1987. Graduated from St. Michael’s College (1937) and Cornell Law School where he served as president of the student body his senior year (1947). Former publisher of Blum’s Daily Sports Bulletin, which was established by his father, and published 77 years. Was former batboy-mascot for the Rochester Red Wings baseball team from 1928-1936. Fred died on April 1, 1998 at age 83. Was Navy veteran of World War II.
Bill Cole, Detroit, Michigan – Men’s Slow Pitch – Third Base
Between 1960 and 1974, Bill Cole helped Detroit teams win a pair of Major Slow Pitch National titles, 1966 (Michael’s Lounge) and 1970, (Little Caesars) and finish runner-up three times. He batted .603, smashed 335 homers and drove home 1,001 runners from 1962-1974. Four times Cole, who was born February 25, 1937, was named an ASA All-American (1962, 1969, 1970 and 1971) and in 1962 he earned the tourney’s MVP award after batting .758 to lead Eastside Sporting Goods to a runner-up finish in the national tourney. It was one of 12 national championships Cole participated in. Nicknamed “Hummer” because he could “hum” or spray the ball to all fields, Cole was not a “stone” glove either playing first, third and the outfield. One of the qualities that made Cole such an outstanding player was his ability to adjust to field conditions, according to his former manager Roy Lombardo. “Some players are strictly pull hitters and if the wind is blowing in, they can’t hit it out. Cole could adjust and hit to any field. And when he did not hit it over the fence, he would get his singles.” Retired from the Chrysler Corporation, Cole was born February 25, 1937.
Fred Crosby, Phelps, New York – Commissioner
Served as president of the ASA in 1960 and ASA Maryland commissioner from 1937-1965. A graduate of Springfield College was inducted into the Recreation Pioneers Hall of Fame in 1973. A native of Phelps, NY, he was born April 19, 1902. Crosby died August 27, 1967 at age 65 in Baltimore, MD.
Billie Harris, Phoenix, Arizona – Women’s Fast Pitch – Pitcher
The first African American woman inducted into the Hall of Fame; Harris played for a team called the Sunshine Girls in 1948. They played a game in Phoenix against the PBSW Ramblers who noticed Harris not only had control and speed as a pitcher but could hit and had speed on the basepaths. Harris eventually joined the Ramblers and between 1950-1975 played for the Ramblers, the Yakima, WA Webcats and the Sun City, AZ Saints. Three times Billie was selected a first-team All-America, twice as a pitcher (1969 and 1958) and once as a utility player (1959). In the 1958 ASA national championship, she compiled a 5-2 pitching record with an ERA of 0.14. In 1959, she batted .347 (8-for-23). Harris starred both as a pitcher and hitter in the 1969 national and was named the tourney MVP. She won four of five games on the mound and batted .400 (8-for-20) to lead her team to a third-place finish. She won more than 20 games in 15 ASA nationals. Playing in the Pacific Coast Women’s League from 1953-1975, she had a .260 batting average with 264 hits in 370 games. She scored 123 runs and drove in 59 runs.
Judy Hedgecock, Satellite Beach, Florida – Women’s Slow Pitch – Pitcher
Growing up in Satellite Beach, FL, Judy Hedgecock did not have to worry about having a coach because her father, Percy, coached her for nine years as a member of the Satellite Beach Comets starting in 1965. Judy started playing slow pitch at 16 while still in high school and played for 13 years before retiring in 1978 as a member of the renowned Marks Brothers and Bob Hoffman North Miami, FL Dots. Born August 13, 1945, Judy participated in 10 ASA national championships and was a member of two national championship teams, 1975 and 1978. In the 1975 national Judy won the MVP award as a pitcher and is the only pitcher to win that award. Six times she earned first-team All-America honors (1969, 1972, 1975, 1976, 1977 and 1978) and was a second-team choice in 1970. Hedgecoach also coached 18-under girls’ teams to three national slow pitch titles 1978, 1981, and 1985. Hedgecock died on November 21, 2000 at age 55 after a long illness. She had a 33-year career in the Brevard County School System at Satellite High School and Eau Gallie High School, FL.
Percy L. Hedgecock, Satellite Beach, Florida – Meritorious Service
Former mayor of Satellite Beach, FL, Hedgecock was instrumental in developing youth softball in the Satellite Beach, FL area, including hosting 10 of the first 12 ASA youth nationals. He also managed youth and adult teams with his youth teams winning national titles in 1975, 1977, 1981 and 1981. His adult women’s team placed second twice, third and 12th in ASA national tournaments before he switched to coaching youth at the end of the 1972 season. Hedgecock founded Satellite Beach in 1957 after he and four relatives invested land in the area. He served as the city’s first mayor from 1957 to 1973. The son of a poor tobacco farmer, Hedgecock dedicated his later years to philanthropy and education leadership. In 1985, he received the Community Foundation of Brevard’s Philanthropist of the Year award. From 1981-1987 he served on the Florida Institute of Technology Board of Trustees. The FIT gymnasium is named in his honor. Hedgecock died on January 27, 1987 at age 70 after suffering a heart attack at Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne, FL. His daughter, Judy, is a member of the ASA National Softball Hall of Fame in the player category.
Richard Howard, Denver, North Carolina – Sponsor
The most recognizable sponsor in men’s slow pitch history, Howard spent more than three decades as a sponsor and was truly one of the great softball ambassadors. His contribution to the growth of slow pitch was immeasurable, not only from a competitive view but from the help he gave to other teams, sponsors, officials, and the ASA headquarters itself, far removed from the tiny hamlet of Denver, NC. Howard’s men’s team won back-to-back Major national titles (1973-1974), the first Super National in 1981 and back-to-back Super nationals in 1983-1984. In addition to the men’s national championships, he also sponsored a Junior National boys’ slow pitch championship team (1973) and a women’s slow pitch national champion (1980). Between 1969-1981, Howard’s men’s teams won1,354 games and lost only 273 for a winning percentage of .832. Howard was born December 7, 1924 and died on April 28, 1998. He was 73 years old.
Nancy Ito, Denver, Colorado – Women’s Fast Pitch – Catcher
One of the outstanding catchers in amateur softball, Ito started out playing the infield as a teenager in Denver, CO before her coach, Andy Hale, asked her to learn catching because the team’s regular catcher left the team to get married. It was a move neither Hale nor Ito would regret. In the next two decades, Ito was named a 13-time All-American. She played 10 years before a job transfer brought her to California in 1960 where she joined the Orange, CA Lionettes. In 15 years with the Lionettes, the 5-foot-7 Ito participated in 13 ASA national championships and the 1970 ISF World Championship in Osaka, Japan. She was a member of four national championship teams and four runners-up. An outstanding defensive catcher with a strong throwing arm, Ito made only 10 errors in 1,401 chances in 222 games in the Pacific Coast Women’s League from 1967-1974 for a fielding percentage of .993. Five seasons she made only one error per season and in 1972 was flawless handling 134 chances. Former teammate Carol Spanks called Ito “the best catcher I’ve ever seen. Not only was she strong and secure around the plate, but she had a great arm and was fundamentally sound in every aspect of defensive play.” She was born June 26, 1933 and died December 19, 1987.
Tom Mason, Newark, Delaware – Umpire
Was a football referee and softball umpire for 33 years. Officiated high school basketball 17 years. Started umpiring in 1958. Served as ASA National Deputy UIC from 1967-1971 and was ASA National UIC from 1972-1980. Was National Rules Interpreter from 1981-1984 and international rules interpreter for nine years. Umpired 15 years, including 25 state, six regional, four military and five national tournaments. Was UIC for three ISF World Championships, assistant UIC for 1974 Women’s World Fast Pitch Championship, nine ASA nationals, the 1978 U.S. Olympic Festival and the 1979 Pan American Games. Conducted 280 clinics in 35 states and supervised clinics in seven foreign countries. In January 1996 issue of REFEREE magazine Mason was cited as one of 20 people who have most influenced sports officiating in the last 20 years. Retired from DuPont Company in 1985 after 30 years as a customer service manager. Former athletic director at Wilmington College in New Castle, DE for two years before retiring July 1, 2000. He was the assistant softball coach for 10 years. Tom Mason was born April 1, 1931. In 2007 was one of three ASA people named among 52 as most influential in officiating history by Referee Magazine. Mason died on December 15, 2014.
Eddie Mayhew, Indianapolis, Indiana – Umpire
Named Indiana ASA umpire-in-chief in 1976 and served until 1989. Umpired in five ASA nationals and in 1964 toured the Far East for the ASA, conducting clinics for the Armed Forces. In 1981, was inducted into the Indiana ASA Hall of Fame. Lived in Indianapolis, IN. Until dying on January 15, 2003 at age 83.
Eddie L. Moore, Shreveport, Louisiana – Meritorious Service
One of the outstanding managers in men’s fast pitch who led the famed Clearwater, FL Bombers to four national titles and four runners-up between 1946-1957. Also, former Florida ASA commissioner. Served as president of the ASA from 1972-1973. In 1939, he was appointed Clearwater recreation superintendent and was named parks and recreation director in 1956. He retired in 1978. Complex in Clearwater is named after him and was dedicated September 22, 1982. Was a member of the National Softball Hall of Fame Committee. His son, Tommy, also a former Clearwater, FL Bomber, is a member of the Hall of Fame and is a former seven-time All-America. Only father-son combination in the ASA National Softball Hall of Fame. Eddie died on May 28, 1998 at age 86 at Tallahassee, FL Community Hospital. Was a native of Slidell, LA. Played professional baseball in Birmingham, AL, Savannah, GA and Macon, GA from 1935-1938 after graduating from the University of Florida in 1934.
Don Snyder, Biloxi, Mississippi – Commissioner
Attended Oklahoma City University on a track scholarship for two years before entering the Merchant Marine Academy in 1942 and graduating as an ensign in 1945. After the Navy, returned to college and earned a B.S. degree in education and a master’s degree in physical education from Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, and was a member of the 1948 Big Ten All-Star track team. Named Mississippi ASA commissioner in 1956 and served 36 years. Led the Biloxi recreation department from 1953 to 1974. He also coached track at Biloxi High School and led youth recreation activities in the school system from 1951 to 1956. After his retirement in 1974, he began a second career as assistant recreation department director for Kessler Air Force Base, where he served for more than 20 years. He was cited as being the key organizer and co-chair of the Biloxi Tricentennial’s Tri-Academy Men’s and Women’s Track and Field Meet, held in Biloxi in April 1999. In 2001, the Donald Snyder Sr. Community Center was dedicated in Biloxi, MS. 2001, honoring Snyder for dedication to the field of recreation and serving as a coach, teacher, and example to countless young people.
Nancy Welborn, Eugene, Oregon – Women’s Fast Pitch – Pitcher
She did not know it at the time, but when Nancy Welborn opted to stay in Eugene, OR and finish her final year of high school, instead of going with her parents to Montana, it turned out to be one of the most important decisions of her career. By staying in Eugene, Jack Moore, manager of McCulloch Chain Saws, was able to work with Nancy, who was then pitching figure-eight. Because of her height (5-11) and coordination, Moore figured Nancy would be better as a windmill pitcher. As history has documented, Moore’s assessment was correct because Welborn developed into an outstanding pitcher. Between that time, however, a lot of work was done as they worked three times a week on speed, then control. Wild at first, Nancy eventually developed, beating Yakima 1-0 in 20 innings in the regional final and a berth in the national tourney in 1965. In 1966, the Chain Saws beat Yakima twice in the regional final to earn another berth in the finals. This time the Chain Saws finished fifth in the nationals and Welborn was again named an All-America. The 1965 national champ Orange, CA Lionettes needed pitching and asked Nancy to join the team. She originally said no but had a change of heart. It was a decision neither Welborn nor the Lionettes would regret. From 1969-1975, Welborn recorded 306 wins and 68 losses with 27 no-hitters and 46 one-hitters. She was a first-team All-America in 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972 and 1973, winner of the MVP award and the Bertha Tickey Award in 1970 and winner of the Tickey Award in 1969, 1971 and 1972. After hurling the Lionettes to the national title, the Lionettes earned a berth in the ISF World Championship in Osaka, Japan and finish second behind Japan. Welborn set ISF records for wins (six) and innings pitched (50). In eight nationals, she compiled a 34-11 record with an ERA of 0.39, striking out 288 batters in 338 innings, allowing 169 hits and walking 37. Not a high average hitter, Welborn was runner-up in RBI for the Lionettes in 1971 and in 1973 led the team in assists. In seven years with the Lionettes she made only 51 errors in 411 games for a .945 fielding percentage. At the regional level, she had a 10-2 won-loss record with an ERA of 0.21 in 98 innings.
NATIONAL SOFTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 1983
Ed Dressler, Bethpage, New York – Umpire
Served as member of the ASA National Umpire staff from 1976-1997 and retired after UIC Clinic in 1997. Received National Award of Excellence at clinic. Umpired first national tournament in 1960 in Jones Beach, NY in the Men’s Major Fast Pitch National. Also umpired seven slow pitch nationals. First tourney he was UIC for was 1963. Was Nassau County UIC for more than 30 years and Metro Long Island UIC for more than 17 years. Also, he was a baseball and basketball official for more than 30 years. Inducted into the Long Island ASA Hall of Honor in 1977. Graduated from Hofstra University in 1950. Dressler died on October 30, 2003 at age 78.
Ida Jean Hopkins, Cleveland, Ohio – Women’s Slow Pitch – Shortstop
Before being admitted into the Olympics in 1996, softball had an Olympian. But it was not for softball. It was for luge, and Ida Jean (Hoppy) Hopkins, a National Softball Hall of Famer, from Cleveland, OH, earned that destination. “John Nagy (former ASA Cleveland Metro Commissioner and president) thought I could do anything,” said Hopkins. “So, he suggested I try out for the luge team.” Hopkins made the 1972 team, but unfortunately never competed in the Olympics. She bruised her back in practice and “was disappointed” she never competed in the individual competition. She still attended the competition in Japan, however, and considers the experience “one of the highlights” of her career. Another highlight was winning the ASA Women’s Major Slow Pitch Championship with Ridge Maintenance of Cleveland, OH in 1967. That year Hoppy also captured her first of three MVP awards. She also was National Tourney MVP in 1968 and 1970 In 1970, Hoppy won her third MVP award as well as earning another All-America award plus leading the national tourney in batting (.704 average, 19-for-27).
Bonnie Jones, Detroit, Michigan – Men’s Fast Pitch – Pitcher
The name had already been picked in advance by his parents when the baby was born February 2, 1933. The name was Bonnie, but the baby turned out to be a boy. The name wasn’t changed, however, and Bonnie Jones went on to become a star pitcher in fast pitch softball. How Jones became a pitcher is interesting. At 11, he missed the last six weeks of school recovering from an appendicitis. Joe Wierbicki, a neighbor, heard Jones had a live arm and taught him how to pitch. It was not until he was 16, however, that Jones gave up his duties as bat boy for Hazel Park Jewelry to pitch in the league. “I lost my first game, then I had a no-hitter and finally ended with nine straight wins,” said Jones, who was declared ineligible for the league and was forced to play up. By 1956, Jones played in his first of 12 ASA national championships, compiling a 33-17 record (.660 winning percentage) and winning the MVP award in 1961 and 1964 and the outstanding pitcher award in the 1970 ASA national championship. Despite Jones’ awesome performance in the 1961 national, winning eight games and hurling 77 2/3 innings, the Burch Grinders finished runner-up. Jones was a five-time ASA All-American and shares the record for most wins in a national tourney (eight) and is second for most innings pitched. On July 14, 1978, Jones died from injuries suffered in a car accident.
Joan Joyce, Boca Raton, Florida – Women’s Fast Pitch – Pitcher
Softball is a team sport. But Hall of Famer Joan Joyce dominated it if it was an individual sport during a 21-year career for the Orange, CA Lionettes and the Raybestos Brakettes, Stratford, CT. Born August 19, 1940, Joyce made her debut with the Brakettes in 1956 and played for them through 1963. From 1964-1966, she compiled a record of 80 wins and six losses pitching for the Orange, CA Lionettes. She re-joined the Brakettes in 1967 and remained until retiring after the 1975 season. As a Brakette, she won 429 games and lost 27 and struck out 5,677 batters in 3,397 innings. She hurled 105 no-hitters and 33 perfect games. Besides being a great hurler, Joyce also was one of the game’s all-time top hitters, finishing her career with a .327 batting average that included leading the Brakettes in batting times six times (1962, 1960, 1967-1969, 1973). Her highest single season average was .406 in 1973. She was a member of 12 national championship teams and 18 times was named an ASA All-America. Eight times she shared or won outright the MVP award in the Women’s National Championship. In 1974, Joan led the Brakettes to the world title in the third ISF Women’s World Championship. She was inducted into the ISF Hall of Fame in 1999. Named by Sports Illustrated that year as the 13th greatest sports figure in Connecticut history.
“Joan Joyce was one of those rare people to enjoy success as both a player and a coach. After concluding an illustrious playing career that spanned parts of four decades in numerous sports, Joyce was named Head Softball Coach at FAU in 1994. The 2022 season was her 28th with the Owls. She was the only FAU softball head coach in program history, racking up 1,002 wins and eight Conference Coach of the Year titles in three different conferences along the way. Under Joyce, the program’s accomplishments are unparalleled: eight-consecutive Conference Championships (1997-2004) – 12 in all (2006, 2007, 2016, 2018) – and eight straight NCAA Tournament appearances (1997-2004) – 11 in all (2006, 2015, 2016).” Joan passed away on Saturday, March 26, 2022. She was 81 years old.
Bob Kuykendall, Waynesville, North Carolina – Men’s Fast Pitch – Catcher
After playing baseball in the Milwaukee Braves’ farm system, Kuykendall switched to fast pitch softball and became one of the top catchers in the game playing for the Clearwater, FL Bombers. Kuykendall played in his first ASA national tourney in 1960 for Canton, NC, then joined the Bombers in 1962. He earned All-America honors that year, batting .389 in the national tourney. He also earned All-America honors in 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966 and 1967. He helped the Bombers win national titles in 1962, 1963, 1966 and 1968, finish second in 1965 and third in 1967. Kuykendall retired as a player after the 1972 season, then served as the assistant manager of the Bombers in 1976. Growing up in Waynesville, NC, Kuykendall earned 14 letters in high school while playing football, baseball, basketball, and track. In 1953, he entered Western Carolina College in Cullowhee, NC and lettered in three sports, only the second athlete in school history to accomplish that feat. He played guard on the football team and was all-conference twice. In baseball he played one year and batted .383 and was named all-state. He also was a guard on the basketball team and earned all-state honors. Kuykendall died on February 24, 1995 at age 59 of a heart attack.
Donna Lopiano, Stamford, Connecticut – Women’s Fast Pitch – Pitcher
Although she had a relatively short fast pitch career-10 years, Donna Lopiano made the most of it. During that time, she earned All-America honors nine times and MVP laurels three times; 1966, 1971 and 1972. In addition, she led the 1972 Women’s Fast Pitch National Tourney in batting with a .429 batting average for the Raybestos Brakettes. Twice she led the Brakettes in hitting, 1970 (.316) and 1972 (.367) and once held the team record for most homers in a season, eight. On the mound, she won 183 games and lost only 18 for a winning percentage of .910, the highest for a pitcher with 150 or more wins. She hurled 817 innings, struck out 1,633 batters and walked only 384. In national championship play, she had a 15-2 record and was a member of six national championship teams and four runners-up. Besides playing in national championships, she also played in the first ISF Women’s World Fast Pitch Championship in Melbourne, Australia in 1965, batting .345 for the Brakettes. An excellent student as an undergraduate, Lopiano has a Ph.D. (1974) and master’s degree (1969) from USC and a B.S. degree from Connecticut State College (1968). She served as the Director of Women’s Athletics at the University of Texas at Austin from 1975 to 1992 and as Chief Executive Officer of the Women’s Sports Foundation from 1992 to 2007.
Bobby Lutz, Denver, North Carolina – Manager
Led Howard’s Furniture/Western Steer of Denver, NC to back-to-back titles in 1973-1974. Between 1969-1979 his teams compiled a record of 1,059 wins and only 233 losses for a winning percentage of .820. In addition to the back-to-back titles, his teams finished third three times, second once, fourth once, fifth once and 10th in national championship play. Named Howard’s manager in 1964 after playing on team for six years and managed team for 16 years. Was known as a “quiet motivator.” Lutz died on April 11, 2012.
Margaret “Toots” Nusse, Linden, New Jersey – Meritorious Service
Founder and manager of the Linden, NJ Arians in 1934, she pitched for the team for 28 years, compiling a record of 396 wins and 114 losses with 109 shutouts and 30 no-hitters. She sponsored the team for 42 years and was the team’s manager for 24 years, then business manager. The Arians competed in three ASA national championships: 1942, 1951 and 1954. Nusse died on December 29, 2002 at age 85. Organized the Eastern Major Girls League in 1959 and was elected commissioner of the league. Was ASA deputy commissioner for 20 years and youth commissioner for two years. She also organized the National Girls Softball League, the American Girls Softball League, and the New Jersey Women’s Umpires Association. When Arians celebrated their 50th year in 1984, a dinner was held to honor Nusse for her election to the National Softball Hall of Fame. In 1960 was elected to the New Jersey ASA Hall of Fame.
Bob Quillen, Indianapolis, Indiana – Umpire
Started umpiring in 1927 and umpired in 12 ASA nationals. Served as Metro Indianapolis UIC from 1941-1981. He formed the Indianapolis Umpire Association in 1944 and was co-owner of the Metropolitan Softball Stadium from 1962-1986. He was a manager at Johnson Chevrolet Body Shop for 20 years, retiring in 1987. He was a member of the Ancient Landmark Masonic Lodge and a life member of the ASA. He died in December of 1989 at age 78 at Community Hospital East in Indianapolis.
Duane “Tiny” Schafer, Jamestown, North Dakota – Commissioner
Served as North Dakota ASA commissioner from 1960 until his death June 25, 1996. He was 71 years old. He was born October 30, 1924. He was co-founder of the North Dakota Sports Hall of Fame in 1988 and was inducted into the F.M. Bowlers Hall of Fame in 1995. Was elected to the North Dakota ASA Hall of Fame in 1974. Served as a member of the National Softball Hall of Fame Selection Committee. Was public relations director for the North Dakota Division of the United States Brewers Association for 28 years before retiring in 1986. He worked as an accountant for the Milwaukee Railroad for seven years, then was office manager, then sales manager for an automotive parts firm for 11 years.
Cliff Smith, Aurora, Illinois – Meritorious Service
Fast pitch career spanned 33 years and included 19 years as a player and 14 years as a manager for various Illinois teams. He was a member of national championship teams in 1959 and 1960 and twice was named an All-America catcher (1962 and 1963). Cliff was the coach for Aurora, IL Sealmasters when it won the ISF World Championship in 1966. In 1967, he managed the Sealmasters to the national title and a year later to the ISF World title. In 1969, he managed the team to a fourth place in its last year of sponsorship. In 1970, Smith led the Aurora Blue Seals and in 1971 managed the Anixter (Skokie) Bombers to a third place in the national championship. In 1973, Smith managed Home Savings and Loan to an eighth place in the national tourney and between 1974-1977 led the team to four consecutive second place finishes. Smith’s last year as a field boss was 1978 when he led Home Savings and Loan to a 14th place in the national tourney. In 1979, when softball was added to the Pan American Games as an official sport, he was named head coach of the USA Men’s National Team and led team to a silver medal in San Juan, Puerto Rico, losing a 1-0 14 inning decision to Canada in the finals. Smith also managed the Major Fast Pitch All-Stars four times (1972, 1975, 1976 and 1977). Smith died on May 29, 1999. He was 72. His nickname was Joker because of his good sense of humor. He was employed by Stephenson-Adamson for 35 years.
NATIONAL SOFTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 1984
Bob Barron, Aurora, Illinois – Men’s Fast Pitch – Second Base
Making the transition from baseball to major fast pitch softball can be difficult. It wasn’t for Bob (Beaver) Barron who, in less than two years, was one of the nation’s top softball players. After five years in the Baltimore Orioles’ organization, plus two years in the Army, Barron joined the renowned Aurora, IL Sealmasters in 1960. As expected, he did not hit for a high average, .163, but after that gradually improved to where he was one of the team’s consistent .300 average hitters. He batted .287 in 1961, .281 in 1962, .323 in 1972, .305 in 1975, .312 in 1965 and a career high .345 in 1967. Born May 2, 1933, Barron earned the first of his six All-America selections in 1961. The highest Barron batted in a national championship was .350 in 1972 and in 11 nationals he batted .243 (44-for-181). Barron was a member of national championship teams in 1961, 1965 and 1967. He also played in two ISF World Championships, 1966 and 1968, and batted .333 in the 1966 ISF world championship. In July 1996, Barron retired from College of DuPage, Glen Ellyn, IL where he served as assistant softball coach/equipment manager for 26 years.
Lewis D. Brasell, Mobile, Alabama – Commissioner
Former Mobile, AL commissioner who was elected to Mobile Sports Hall of Fame in 2000. Served as deputy commissioner for 11 years and 20 years as Mobile ASA commissioner. Was involved in softball for more than 50 years and was regional vice president from 1980-1981. He hosted and served as director of the first ASA national tournament in Mobile, 1976. Directed 15 regional tournaments and two area tournaments during career as commissioner. Elected to the Mobile Hall of Fame in 1975 and the Alabama Softball Hall of Fame in 1992 as a charter member. The softball complex at Cottage Hill Park in Mobile was named in his honor in 1990. Is commissioner emeritus. Was born August 10, 1918 and died on March 28, 2006.
Al Brausch, Newport, Kentucky – Manager
One of the outstanding managers in the early years of men’s slow pitch, he led Joe Gatliff Auto Sales of Newport, KY to three national titles: 1956, 1957 and 1963. He also had teams finish runner-up twice, third once and fifth twice. In nine ASA national championships his teams compiled a 36-12 won-loss record for a winning percentage of .667.
Mickey Davis, Huntington Beach, South Carolina – Women’s Fast Pitch – Outfield
As a teenager falling in love with softball in the small town of Ware Shoals, SC, Mickey Davis occasionally read about softball stars and fantasized about becoming one of them. But she realized her dream during a distinguished career with the Atlanta, GA Tomboys, (1964-1966), the Orlando, FL Rebels (1967-68) and the Orange, CA Lionettes (1969-75). Six years in a row (1967-1973) Davis was named an All-American (one first team and five second team) and the year she was not named, 1975, she batted .375 in the national championship, the highest of her career. An outstanding fielder, Davis did not make an error in her first seven nationals and committed only two errors in nine nationals for a fielding percentage of .960 (47 putouts, one assist) and a .231 batting average (30-for-130). In 12 years, Davis compiled a .257 batting average and a .966 fielding percentage. She was a member of two national championship teams (1969-70) and two runners-up. She also batted .375 in the 1970 ISF World Championship in Osaka, Japan as the Lionettes, representing the USA, finished second behind Japan.
Diane Kalliam, San Mateo, California – Women’s Fast Pitch – Outfield
Diane Kalliam could run, field, hit and throw. But she will probably be best remembered for her outstanding hitting during a 15-year career in which she twice led the Women’s Major Fast Pitch National Tourney in batting. The first was in 1974 when she batted .444. She followed with a then record .632 batting average in 1975 (12-for-19). Kalliam’s performance was not enough, however, as her team, the Santa Clara Laurels, finished second in the 1975 national championship. Kalliam said losing that championship game was the biggest disappointment of her career. The two biggest thrills of her career were setting the then batting record and playing in pair of national championship finals. After the 1975 season, Kalliam retired and left behind an impressive career including a .427 lifetime batting average with 1,060 hits in 2,843 at-bats with 448 stolen bases. She also scored 842 runs with a personal best of 89 in 1966. Kalliam was born August 24, 1943. Between 1961-69, Kalliam appeared in seven national championships and batted .430 (43-for-100) and was named an All-American five times (1961, 1971, 1973, 1974, and 1975) and All-Regional 13 times. From 1979-1999, she was head softball coach at San Francisco State University and compiled a record of 286-640-5.
J.D. McDonald, McAdenville, North Carolina – Men’s Slow Pitch – Shortstop
Starting his softball career at 14, J.D. McDonald ultimately became one of the slickest fielding shortstops in the United States between 1955-1979 playing for the McAdenville, NC Reds. McDonald played in 22 national championships and earned All-America honors 10 times as the Reds won six Major Industrial Slow Pitch national titles. Although the 5-foot-7, 147-pound McDonald was better known for his stellar defense, he could also handle himself at-bat and was a consistent .500 plus hitter. In the 1974 national championship he batted .636. As the first player from North Carolina elected to the Hall of Fame, McDonald played in an era when slow pitch was suited for smaller players who could run, field, hit and throw. The bats were wooden, the balls were not as lively as they are today and 15 to 20 runs per game was the norm. And the teams did not hit home runs by the dozen, so speed and defense were stressed. In his Hall of Fame acceptance speech, McDonald give credit to his sponsor and to his former teammates. “If it had not been for Mr. Pharr, I wouldn’t have had the exposure of having played in all parts of the country. We had some great teams that won many national championships. But I was one member of those teams. I had some great teammates during all the years of playing softball and I want them to know that they share a part of this honor with me.” In December of 1986, McDonald died at age 50.
Jackie Rice, Portland, Oregon – Women’s Fast Pitch – Pitcher
Fast pitch pitcher Jackie Rice did not allow too many earned runs, especially in national championship play. In fact, in 203 1/3 innings of national championship play she allowed less than half a run per game (0.48). And 11 of her 21 wins were shutouts to go along with eight losses. Rice’s pitching helped her teams win three ASA national championships (1964, 1969 and 1970) and she was named an All-American five times (1963, 1964, 1966, 1967 and 1968). She also participated in seven ASA Women’s Fast Pitch All-Star Series (1964, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970 and 1971). In 1963, Rice achieved a 4-1 pitching record in the national championship and led the Erv Lind Florists of Portland, OR to a runner-up spot. The next year the Florists won it all as Rice was undefeated and was named the tourney MVP. In 1966, Rice played for Fresno and had a 3-1 record in the ASA national championship. In 1967, she joined the Orange, CA Lionettes and helped them win a pair of ASA national championships. In her first year with Lionettes, Rice led the Pacific Coast Women’s League in ERA (0.07) and compiled a 23-14 record and 0.14 ERA. In 1968, Rice had a 4-2 record with an ERA of 1.16 in the ASA national tourney. After the 1974 season, Rice retired as a player to pursue a professional career in the Department of Physical Education, Health and Athletics at Western Oregon College before retiring in 1984.
NATIONAL SOFTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 1985
Louise Albrecht, Illmo, Missouri – Women’s Fast Pitch – Pitcher
Starring as a pitcher and outfielder during a 24-year career, E. Louise Albrecht played for some of the top women’s Major Fast Pitch teams. An outfielder and a pitcher she had a 304-83 pitching record for a .785 winning percentage. Among the teams she played for were the Whittier, CA Gold Sox, Orange, CA Lionettes, California Chaparrals, Dieselettes, Sunnyland Lettes, and the Raybestos Brakettes. A native of Illmo, MO, Albrecht had her best season in 1952, winning 56 of 58 games and batting .300. She had a .258 lifetime batting average. In eight ASA national championships, she won 17 games, lost seven, allowed 77 hits, struck out 82 and allowed only 16 earned runs in 160 1/3 innings for an ERA of 0.70. Her six All-America selections were evenly divided between first and second team with first-team selections in 1961, 1962 and 1965 and second-team honors in 1963, 1964 and 1969. In 1962, she also won the tourney’s MVP Award and compiled a 5-2 pitching record. The 5-foot-8, 140-pound Albrecht was a member of national championship teams in 1961 and 1965 and three runners-up: 1966, 1969 and 1972. She was born November 19, 1934. She retired from Southern Connecticut State University in 1992 and was associate athletic director at that time. She was appointed to that position in 1984. She joined the university’s athletic staff in 1970. She was born November 19, 1934.
Sharron Backus, Anaheim, California – Women’s Fast Pitch – Shortstop
Sharron Backus is one who had an outstanding playing career, then distinguished herself as a coach. Backus played amateur softball from 1961-1975 for the Whittier Gold Sox, the Orange, CA Lionettes and the Raybestos Brakettes. Backus batted .268, .298 and .301 for the Gold Sox and was a second-team All-American in 1961 as the Gold Sox won the national title. Backus spent three years with the Lionettes (1964-1966) and was a first-team All-American in 1964 and 1966. She batted .285, .293 and .263 those three years. Sharron spent the last seven years of her career with the Brakettes and earned All-America laurels three times. She was a member of five more national championship teams (1971-1975) and participated in 13 national tourneys. Backus had a seven-year .292 batting average with the Brakettes with .361 in 1971 her highest batting average. Born February 12, 1946, Backus was named head softball coach at UCLA in 1975 and coached for 21 years before retiring in June of 1997. In 21 years, she compiled a record of 847-167-3 with nine national championships and a post-season record of 118-32.
Jim Galloway, Westbury, New York – Men’s Slow Pitch – Infield
If there was one player who brought notoriety and exposure to slow pitch softball in its early days, it was Big Jim Galloway. Standing 6-feet 4 and weighing 230 pounds, Galloway was the long-ball hitter deluxe. His career spanned the period 1946-1980 and he was as exciting player as there was playing slow pitch softball with his tape-measure homers and outstanding defensive plays. He was named an ASA All-American nine times. “Jim was such a gifted athlete that he threw the ball underhanded across the infield. When he started a double play from first base, he would flip the ball backhanded to the shortstop like a second baseman does,” said Doc Linnehan, Jim’s former manager. “He hit the ball harder and further than anybody,” said Dave Neale, former manager of Steele’s Silver Bullets. “Back then you had your sluggers like Tex Collins (of Detroit). Collins hit home runs, but Galloway hit tape-measure home runs.” Jim played in 10 ASA nationals, hitting 75 home runs, and driving in 162 runs. and was a member of a national championship team in 1968, two runners-up (1966 and 1973), one fourth (1969), one 11th, one 12th and one 13th place. Galloway was born June 1, 1935. Jim died on December 19, 2020 at the age of 85.
Erv Lind, Portland, Oregon – Manager
Former manager of Erv Lind Florists of Portland, OR who were one of the top teams in the Northwest and won the ASA national title in 1944 and 1964. His team played in 14 nationals and 11 times it placed fourth or higher, including five second place finishes. The other three times the team finished fifth, sixth and seventh. Annual award is named after Lind and is given each year to the Outstanding Defensive Player in the ASA Women’s Major Fast Pitch National Championship. Was elected to Northwest Region Hall of Fame in 1984. The softball field at Normandale Park in Portland was dedicated the Erv Lind Field on July 16, 1965. His teams had a won-loss record of 1,113 wins and 324 losses for a winning percentage of .774 from 1937-1964. Lind died on November 19, 1964 at the age of 58.
Wiltraud “Willie” Roze, Hamden, Connecticut – Women’s Fast Pitch – Outfield
Born November 8, 1948 in Germany, Wiltraud (Willie) Roze starred for the Raybestos Brakettes of Stratford, CT for 10 years, earning eight All-America selections. Noted for her base running and clutch hitting, Roze was a first team selection in 1967, 1969, 1971, 1973 and 1974 and a second team choice in 1968, 1969 and 1973. Except for 1974 when she was named at second base, she was named as an outfielder. Roze played in 10 ASA national championships and batted .248 (53-for-214) and twice, 1967 and 1972, batted .333. She had a .281 career batting average with the Brakettes with 526 hits in 1,869 at-bats, with .342 in 1975 her highest single season batting average. Roze was a member of eight national championship teams during her 10 years and played in the 1974 ISF World Championship, which was held in Stratford, CT. She was the fifth leading hitter on the team with a .455 batting average (10-for-22). Winning that World championship, Roze said, was the greatest thrill of her career. Her greatest disappointment was in 1969 when the Brakettes did not win the national title and thus missing qualifying for a spot in the ISF World Championship in Osaka, Japan. A graduate of Southern Connecticut State, where she obtained both her master’s and bachelor’s degrees, Roze played three years of pro softball after retiring from amateur softball in 1975.
Jack Spore, Nashville, Tennessee – Commissioner
Was associated with softball for more than 40 years and served as Tennessee state commissioner for two decades. During his career served two terms as chairman of the Awards Committee and served on Finance, Building and Hall of Fame Committees. In 1978, received award for registering most youth teams in ASA. In 1982, was director of the first Winston-ASA Slow Pitch All-Star Series. Under his leadership, Tennessee hosted 10 ASA national tourneys. In 1955 Spore received National Orchid for his outstanding work in recreation. The Dixie Softball Association honored Spore as Softball’s Best Friend. In 1971, he was recognized by the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association for 25 years of active officiating in football and basketball. Served four terms as president of the TSSAA officials. Was selected as Sportsman of the Year in 1982 by the Nashville BANNER. Spore is a Peabody College graduate and has a master’s degree from the same college. Spore died December 26, 1987 at age 69.
NATIONAL SOFTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 1986
Herb Dudley, Clearwater, Florida Men’s Fast Pitch – Pitcher
Herb Dudley pitched in seven decades, starting in 1939 and ending in 1981. He played 13 years for the Clearwater, FL Bombers. He played in their first game in 1940 and ended his career with them in 1981. In between came stops in Atlanta, GA, Ashland, OH, Levittown, NY, Long Island, NY, Fort Wayne, IN, St. Petersburg, FL, Miami, FL, Sunnyvale, CA, Rising Sun, MD, Birmingham, AL, and Allentown, PA. He was named an ASA All-American five times, compiling a 28-9 record in 16 ASA nationals. Between 1946-1950, Herb had a 142-10 record for the Bombers and hurled 110 shutouts with 45 no-hitters. His records were 25-0, 23-3, 27-1, 31-2 and 36-4 with 2,475 strikeouts. In 1951 and 1952, Dudley had records of 17-2 and 24-4 for the Fort Wayne, IN Zollner Pistons before rejoining Clearwater in 1953 and staying through the 1958 season. In the 1949 national, he set the ASA record for most strikeouts in a game with 55 against Okmulgee, OK in 21 innings, September 21. He finished the tourney with 130 strikeouts. It remained the record until broken by Mike Piechnik of the Farm Tavern, Madison, WI in 1988 with 140. Dudley was born December 19, 1919 and died on March 16, 2007 at age 87.
Peggy Kellers, Stratford, Connecticut – Women’s Fast Pitch – Catcher
All but one season of Peggy Kellers’ softball career was spent with the Raybestos Brakettes of Stratford, CT from 1964-1974. During that time, Peggy earned All-America honors six times playing in 11 ASA nationals as the Brakettes won seven national titles. Peggy started nine of the 11 years she played for the Brakettes and had a .218 batting average with 280 hits in 1,287 at-bats with 29 doubles, 21 triples, seven homers and 121 runs batted in. She batted .238 in national championship play. In addition, Kellers also played in seven Women’s Major Fast Pitch All-Star Series, the third ISF Women’s World Fast Pitch Championship in 1974 (.238 BA) and the 1967 Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Canada where softball was a demonstration sport. Complications from surgery on her right arm in September of 1974 forced her to retire from softball before the start of the 1975 season. A native of Stratford, CT, Peggy has a bachelor’s degree from Southern Connecticut State (1970), a master’s degree from the University of Bridgeport (1977) and a doctorate in sports psychology from the University of Virginia (1989). In 1993, Peggy was named head coach at the University of Virginia and remained there until 1997 (123-97 record). In 1994, Peggy was named Atlantic Coach Conference Coach of the Year. Kellers was born March 19, 1948.
Chris “Pettina” Miner, Portland, Oregon – Women’s Fast Pitch – Infield
The youngest player ever named an ASA All-American in women’s major fast pitch, Chris Miner started her softball career in 1960 with the Portland Rosebuds, a junior team. In 12 years—she sat out the 1968 and 1969 seasons—Miner played for the Rosebuds, Erv Lind Florists, Dr. Bernard’s, the Sun City Saints, Sun City, AZ, the Fresno, CA Rockets and the Fullerton, CA Royals. Born July 2, 1946, Miner played in seven ASA national championships and was a member of the 1964 ASA national champion Erv Lind Florists. She was named an All-American five times: 1962 (.227 BA), 1963 (.318), 1965 (.263), 1970 (.316) and 1972 (.462). In 1972 she also was named winner of the Erv Lind Award as the outstanding defensive player in the Women’s Major Fast Pitch National Championship. Despite having a broken thumb, she played errorless ball for the Fresno Rockets at shortstop in five games. “It meant (winning the award) so much to be because it was Erv’s,” said Miner. Lind was one of the people who greatly influenced Miner’s career. “He was a great influence, a great man, a first-class person. I can ‘t say enough good things about him,” Miner said.Miner also singled out Portland coaches Lois Williams and Hap Piper for praise. “They were two different type of coaches, but they would get the best from you. Portland coach Harvey Oberg also was important. “He was like the father I didn’t have,” Miner said. Miner retired after the 1973 season as a player.
Mack Phillips, Grosse Point Woods, Michigan – Meritorious Service
Mack’s career dates to 1939 as a player for Briggs Beautyware of Detroit, MI. He played 17 years for Briggs and was named an ASA All-American in 1949. From 1952-1955 he managed the team and it won ASA major fast pitch national titles in 1952 and 1953. In 1954 team was runner-up in national fast pitch tourney. Sponsored East Side Sporting Goods in 1958 as team won ASA Open slow pitch national title. Member of Michigan ASA Hall of Fame and Metro Detroit Hall of Fame.
O.W. “Bill” Smith, Bennington, Nebraska – Commissioner
Former Nebraska ASA commissioner from 1967-1998. Served as president of the ASA from 1990-91. Director of the National Softball Centennial celebration. Director of softball for Explorer Olympics for eight years. Inducted into Nebraska Softball Hall of Fame in 1980. Vice chairman of JO Committee for 10 years. Former chairman of the JO Committee (1989). Served three terms as regional vice-president. Listed in Who’s Who in the Midwest for outstanding community service. Honorary member of the Indiana ASA Hall of Fame. Alternate delegate to the USOC House of Delegates meeting three years. Awarded a life membership in the Nebraska PTA Congress for outstanding service to youth recreation and sports. Former member of the ASA National Softball Hall of Fame Selection Committee. Elected to ISF Hall of Fame in 2001. Bill died on April 23, 2012.
Hal Wiggins, Covington, Kentucky – Men’s Slow Pitch – Outfield
Wiggins had a 31-year career in softball and was known for his clutch hitting and solid defensive play in the outfield for some of the top teams in Northern Kentucky in the early days of slow pitch softball. Wiggins played in 15 ASA national championships including 12 slow pitch, two Major Industrial and one Major fast pitch (1949). He was a member of four national championship teams, including the first ASA Men’s Slow Pitch national champ, Shield’s Contractors in 1953, Lang’s Pet Shop (1955) and Joe Gatliff Auto Sales (1957 and 1963). Besides the national championship teams, he played on teams that were runners-up four times, third three times, fourth once and fifth once (fast pitch). The slow pitch teams he played for compiled a record of 68-23 in national championship play. In the 14 slow pitch nationals he played in, Wiggins hit between .428 and .750 (1958). Three times he was named an ASA All-American: 1956 (.666 batting average); 1961 (.650 batting average) and 1963 (.519 average, two homers). In 31 years of playing Wiggins estimated he played more than 5,000 league and tournament games. Wiggins said the greatest thrill of his career was in 1963 when his team was 12 runs down going into the bottom of the sixth and it came back to win 13-12. The person who influenced his softball career the most was his manager Al Brausch. In January of 1985, he was inducted into the Northern Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame. He was born December 20, 1928 and died on October 15, 1996 from cancer. In 1999, Wiggins was elected to the National Senior Softball Hall of Fame.
NATIONAL SOFTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 1987
Rose Marie “Rosie” Adams, Escondido, California – Women’s Fast Pitch – Second Base
At 14 the youngest person to play in an ASA Women’s Major Fast Pitch National Championship, Rosie Adams played seven years for the Orange CA Lionettes and four years for the Raybestos Brakettes of Stratford, CT. The back-up infielder in 1965-1966, Rosie made the Lionettes’ starting lineup in 1967 and continued through the 1970 season. In 1971, she joined the Brakettes and earned first-team All-America honors 1971-1973. With the Lionettes, Rosie was named a second-team All-American in 1969 as the Lionettes won the title and qualified to represent the USA in the ISF World Championship in Osaka, Japan. She also competed in the 1974 ISF World Championship. Rosie rejoined the Brakettes in 1971 and was a member of four consecutive national championship teams. In four years with the Brakettes, Adams had a .279 batting average in national championship play and batted .187 in 11 national championships (29-for-155). Although all her defensive stats are not available, she had a .959 fielding percentage in six years with the Lionettes, making 802 putouts and recording 520 assists with only 56 errors. She had a .209 batting average with 340 hits in 1,624 at-bats with 133 RBIs. She was born August 22, 1951 and died on May 15, 2018.
Carl “Tex” Collins, Detroit, Michigan – Men’s Slow Pitch – Catcher
When Detroit men’s slow pitch teams were the toast of the softball world, 6-feet-4 inch, 260-pound plus Carl “Tex” Collins was one of the players supplying the offense. Collins, who died in 1980, played in nine ASA national championships and earned All-America honors four times. The first was in 1967 when he batted .630, hit 13 homers (including six in a row) and drove in 27 runs. The second All-America selection came in 1969 as Collins led Little Caesars to third place in the national tourney, batting .654 (17-for-26) with four homers and 11 RBI. Little Caesars won the national title in 1970, defeating defending champion Copper Hearth of Milwaukee, WI with Collins batting .625 and hitting five homers, including four in the championship game. But he wasn’t named an All-American. In 1972, Collins was named All-American for a third time. Caesars finished seventh in 1972 as Collins batted .582 with five homers and 15 RBIs. His fourth and final All-America selection came in 1973, batting .541, hitting 11 homers and driving in 19 runs to lead Little Caesars to a third-place finish. Born in Miami (pronounced Miam-ah in Oklahoma), OK in 1934, Collins died of a heart attack in 1980.
Henry Flowers, Copley, Ohio – Umpire
Was involved in officiating for more than 30 years. Umpired in two Class A nationals, three Men’s Major Fast Pitch Nationals, the 1984 ISF Men’s World Championship in Midland, MI and the 1983 Pan American Games in Caracas, Venezuela. Was ISF certified in 1980. Was born January 9, 1929.
Bill Humphrey, Midland, Michigan – Umpire
One of the original founders of the ASA National Umpire School in 1980, Humphrey umpired from 1953-1984 and served as a member of the ASA National Umpire staff from 1977-1990. He umpired in the Men’s Major Fast Pitch National and the Men’s Modified Pitch National in 1975, and the Men’s Major Fast Pitch All-Star Series a year later. He was the UIC for the 1978 and 1981 U.S. Olympic Festivals and the 1979 Pan American Games Trials. He umpired the 1981 NAIA College World Series, the 1983 Division One NCAA World Series, World Games One (1981) and the 1984 ISF Men’s World Championship in Midland, MI. He was ISF certified in 1979 and served as Great Lakes Regional director from 1988-1996. He was the Michigan Amateur Softball Association commissioner from 1990-2000 and executive director of the Michigan Amateur Softball Association from 1987-2000. Served as president of the ASA from 1997-1998 and was a member of the Board of Directors from 1988-2000. In April of 2000, Humphrey accepted a position as director of membership services at the ASA national office and remained in that position until retiring June 1, 2002. Humphrey has a B.S. degree in recreation from Michigan State University. Is a member of the Midland County Sports Hall of Fame (1992) and the Michigan ASA Hall of Fame (1982). In 2007 was named one of the 52 most influential in officiating history by Referee Magazine. Humphrey was born March 18, 1939.
Alfred “Red” Morton, Redwood City, California – Commissioner
Red was a people person who would do anything to help people out. Served as Northern California ASA commissioner 1951-1971 and later as regional vice-president, 1956 and 1960. Also, a member of the San Mateo Sports Hall of Fame. Worked for the Redwood City Parks and Recreation Department from 1937-1971 as its first recreation director. Born in 1907 and died in 1971 at age 64.
Lorene Ramsey, Pekin, Illinois – Women’s Fast Pitch – Pitcher
It did not matter to Lorene Ramsey, a member of the National Softball Hall of Fame since 1987, if she was playing a game of softball or practicing for one. “I loved to play the game. I even loved practice,” said Ramsey. In a career that spanned more than two decades, Lorene established herself as a Hall of Fame pitcher as the mainstay for the Chuck McCord Pekin, IL Lettes. Between 1955-1972 Ramsey played for the Caterpillar Dieselettes, Sunnyland Lettes, and Pekin Lettes, compiling a won-loss record of 401-90 and a winning percentage of .816. Before 1955, she achieved a pitching record of 82-32 for amateur teams in St. Louis. She was 21-1 in 1951, 7-21 in 1952, 20-5 in 1953 and 34-5 in 1954. She played in the first of 13 ASA national championships in 1954 and compiled a 3-1 record for the fourth-place St. Louis Kutis Funeral Home. In national championship play, Lorene won 22 games, lost 22 and four times was named an ASA All-American (1959, 1960, 1965 and 1970). She also participated in three ASA Women’s Fast Pitch All-Star Series. In 18 years, Ramsey fanned 3,811 batters in 3,460 innings, allowed 1,793 hits, 277 runs and 616 walks. Her lifetime ERA was 0.56. In 1965 and 1966 she was named MVP of the Houston, TX Warren Paine Tournament, annually one of the top women’s tournaments then. In 1965, Ramsey pitched 98 1/3 scoreless innings for the Pekin Lettes, breaking the old mark of 59 held by Hall of Famer Marie Wadlow. Ramsey was born July 10, 1936. Retired April 1, 2003 from Illinois Central College. Is also a member of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, TN.
NATIONAL SOFTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 1988
John Anquillare, New Haven, Connecticut – Men’s Fast Pitch – Third Base
Although he never realized his dream of being an NFL quarterback, Anquillare had an outstanding career against the best of men’s fast pitch in 18 years of fast pitch competition. Convinced to give fast pitch softball a try after starring as a college baseball player at the University of New Haven, Anquillare was an immediate hit with the renowned Raybestos Cardinals. He led the team in batting (.296) in 1966 and two years later (1968) broke the Cards’ all-time one season hitting mark by two points with a .432 average. Anquillare twice more batted .400 or higher in his career with a .426 average in 1971 and a .400 average in 1972. Eight times he led the Cardinals in hitting and finished his career with a .345 lifetime batting average. In 1,017 games, Anquillare scored 632 runs, hit 158 doubles, belted 67 homers, and drove in 492 runs. He had a .513 lifetime slugging percentage and earned ASA All-America honors seven times in 13 national tourneys and twice was the MVP in the national championship (1970 and 1983). He also played (.318 BA) in the 1984 ISF World Championship in Midland, MI as the USA won a bronze medal after winning the 1983 ASA National Tourney in an upset. Anquillare was born March 31, 1942.
Rex R. Brown, Bremerton, Washington – Umpire
Served as Washington State UIC from 1972-1981 and was appointed to ASA National Umpire staff in March of 1981 and served until 1993. He umpired in five ASA national championships and two ISF World Championships. Served as the UIC at two U.S. Olympic Festivals, 1982 and 1986, and 12 ASA adult and Junior Olympic nationals. He conducted numerous clinics overseas and was ISF certified in 1978. He was born on October 7, 1923 in Charleston, WA. Rex Brown died on January 12, 2009. He was 85 years old.
Vinnie Caserto, Marlboro, New York – Men’s Fast Pitch – First Base
Calling fast pitch softball “the greatest team sport that I ever played,” Caserto was a pitcher’s nightmare between 1971 and 1984 playing for the Little Brahaus Brewers of Poughkeepsie, NY, the Raybestos Cardinals of Stratford, CT and the Franklin Cardinals of West Haven, CT. A four-time All-American, he smashed 170 homers and drove in 583 runs during his career to go along with his .329 lifetime batting average. Four of the eight years he played for the Cardinals he led them in batting and was twice named an All-American (1976 and 1983). He also twice was an alternate for the USA Pan American team (1979 and 1983). He also batted .280 in the 1984 ISF World Championship. In his first year (’76) with the Cardinals, Caserto led the team in batting (.384) and homers (11). In 1979, he again led the team in batting (.360) and homers (18). He played in 11 ASA national tourneys and twice was a member of a national championship team (1976 and 1983). Before joining the Cardinals, Caserto starred for Little Brauhaus and helped them finish third twice in the national championship. Caserto batted .336 in his first year with Poughkeepsie and was an All-American. He batted .444 in the 1972 national championship to lead all hitters as well as being named an All-American again. Caserto was born June 12, 1946.
John Deaver, Louisville, Kentucky – Commissioner
Served as Kentucky ASA commissioner from 1933-1963 and was eighth president of the ASA from 1955-1956. Was the first president of the ASA to receive presidential recognition in organizing National Softball Week during the Eisenhower administration. Helped organize the first ASA National Slow Pitch Tournament in Cincinnati, OH in 1953 and was overall director of second ASA Slow Pitch National Tourney in 1954 in Louisville, KY. One of the original members of the ASA, he had a career as the registrar of the Louisville Scottish Rite after retiring from softball.
Gene Fisher, Denver, North Carolina – Men’s Slow Pitch – Catcher
The first former Howard’s Furniture/Western Steer player elected to the Hall of Fame, Fisher compiled a .562 lifetime batting average during a 24-year career, hitting an estimated 3,000 home runs and driving in more than 2,000 runs. From 1970-1983, Fisher averaged .558 and smashed 1,439 homers as Howard’s won back-to-back Open slow pitch national titles (1973-1974) and the Super Division national title twice (1981 and 1983). The 1973 national championship Fisher called his “greatest thrill in softball,” while not winning a record third title in a row in 1975 in Cleveland, OH was his greatest disappointment. The Cleveland tournament was played in almost swamp-like conditions as Howard’s was eliminated by Poindexter Lumber in the loser’s bracket. Poindexter then lost to Pyramid Cafe of Cleveland, OH in the championship game, 11-7. Fisher’s All-America selections came in 1973, 1974, 1975 and 1978. He batted .658 with 23 homers and 20 RBIs in 1973, .429 with seven homers and 12 RBIs in 1974, .480 with five homers and 11 RBIs in 1975 and .583 with 14 homers and 40 RBIs in 1978. Fisher was born April 20, 1941 in Long Island, NC.
Howard B. Honaker, Ashland, Ohio – Commissioner
Succeeded Nick Barack as Ohio ASA commissioner. Served as president of the ASA from 1980-1981. Former member of the International Joint Rules Committee on Softball. Served on various ASA committees during his career including Hall of Fame. Under his leadership, Ohio ASA has been one of the ASA’s strongest associations and among the leaders in team membership for many years. Served as chairman of the Hall of Fame Foundation. Has served as regional vice-president for all but two years since 1970. Is a member of the Ohio State ASA, Ashland, OH and Akron, OH Halls of Fame. Honaker died on August 1, 2018.
William “Red” Jenkins, McAdenville, North Carolina – Manager
Managed Pharr Yarn Reds of McAdenville, NC to three Major Industrial slow pitch titles, 1960, 1961 and 1963. Also had teams finish runner-up twice (1957 and 1965), fourth twice (1959 and 1966) and fifth once (1962) in national championship play. Managed from 1955-1969 with his teams winning 61 games and losing 24 for a winning percentage of .714 in national championship play.
Al Lewis, Stratford, Connecticut – Men’s Fast Pitch – Pitcher
It is not often that the team bat boy becomes a Softball Hall of Famer. Unless of course you are Al “The Horse” Lewis, who served as the bat boy for the renowned Raybestos Cardinals from 12-17. While Lewis took care of the bats, Hall of Fame pitcher Johnny Spring taught Lewis the finer points of pitching. Lewis idolized Spring. Spring’s instruction paid off as Lewis eventually pitched his way into the ASA National Softball Hall of Fame. Four times Lewis earned All-America honors and in 1976 was MVP of the men’s fast pitch national championship after hurling the Cardinals to the title. Lewis won all five games and allowed only one run in 37 innings to finish with an ERA of 0.19. In 12 ASA national championships, Lewis compiled a 20-11 record and was a member of five national championship teams. He had a 1-0 record in the 1984 ISF World Championship as the Cardinals represented the USA and won a bronze medal. In 1979, Lewis was one of the four pitchers on the USA Pan Am Team. He finished his career with a record of 325 wins and only 91 losses. Lewis was a battler right to the end of his career when he lost a two-and-a-half-year battle with cancer on May 23, 1994. He was born September 20, 1944.
Roy Lombardo, Detroit, Michigan – Manager
Managed from 1954-1975 and won three ASA Open slow pitch national titles: 1958 with East Side Sporting Goods, Michael’s Lounge in 1966 and Little Caesars in 1970. The 1966 Michael’s Lounge team and the 1970 Little Caesars of Detroit, MI were undefeated in the national championships. His teams also were runner-up in 1967 and 1971, third in 1969 and 1973, fifth in 1964 and seventh in 1972. Lombardo died on August 3, 2010.
Don E. Porter, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Meritorious Service
Served as ASA executive director for 35 years before taking over as president of the International Softball Federation. During his tenure as ASA executive director, the Association had outstanding growth and development of softball, including building of ASA national office, National Softball Hall of Fame, and Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City. Porter joined ASA in May 1962, as an assistant to former executive secretary -treasurer Gene Martin and was named executive secretary-treasurer in January of 1963. Position was later changed to executive director. Porter campaigned for more than two decades to get softball into the Olympics. That became a reality in the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, GA. Porter was born May 18, 1930 and is a native of Southern California. Prior to coming to ASA national office, Porter served as Southern California ASA commissioner. Was also the president of the International Softball Federation in Plant City, FL before that dissolved and became part of the WBSC.
Maxine Thayer, Indianapolis, Indiana – Manager
First Lady of softball in Indianapolis, she managed women’s fast pitch teams from 1956-1984, compiling a record of 1,118 wins and 475 losses for .702 winning percentage. Her teams won 28 Metro titles and competed in seven ASA nationals: 1956, 1957, 1963, 1968, 1969, 1973 and 1974. Best finish was a third in 1974. Also, a member of Indianapolis ASA Hall of Fame. Thayer died on July 13, 2006.
NATIONAL SOFTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 1989
Tom Beck, Tidewater, Virginia – Meritorious Service
Served as slow pitch manager, UIC and commissioner during his career in softball. Led Virginia Beach Piledrivers to the 1971 ASA Major slow pitch national title led by Hall of Famer Bert Smith. As a manager, his teams won 1,802 games and lost 593 for a .751 winning percentage. His teams participated in 14 ASA nationals and finished in the top 10 seven times. Served as his association’s UIC from 1963-1968 and was named Metro commissioner in 1974 and served until 1988. Served as the Central Atlantic region vice-president from 1981-1982. In 1983, was elected to the Tidewater ASA Hall of Fame. As a commissioner, hosted three nationals and 26 regionals. Is a member of the ASA National Hall of Fame Selection Committee. Was a commissioner emeritus on the National Council until his death on March 13, 2016.
Raymond “Whitey” Brown, Williamstown, Kentucky – Men’s Slow Pitch – Shortstop
When Northern Kentucky teams dominated in the early days of slow pitch, Raymond (Whitey) Brown was one of the players leading the way. Brown’s career started in 1946 and concluded in 1984. He played an estimated 5,000 games. Brown played for some of the outstanding men’s teams, including Lang’s Pet Shop, Yorkshire Restaurant and Gatliff Auto Sales. He started out playing fast pitch before switching to slow pitch in 1955. He played in 15 ASA Nationals and was a three-time All-American. (1956, 1959 and 1964). He batted .400 (12-for-30) in the 1956 tourney for national runner-up Lang’s Pet Shop, leading his team in RBIs (13) and sharing the home run leadership with John Stephens (3). In the 1959 tourney Brown batted .355. Brown was a member of five national championship teams: Joe Gatliff Auto three times, Lang’s Pet Shop once and Yorkshire Restaurant once, all between 1955-63. Brown is the fourth member of the Gatliff team to earn amateur softball’s highest honor. Brown retired from the General Electric Company in 1987, but still enjoys playing Senior Slow Pitch. Brown was born March 4, 1925 and died on July 15, 2017.
Bill Finley, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Umpire
Served on the National Umpire staff from 1974-1981. Was Metro OKC UIC for more than 30 years and is a member of the OKC Metro Hall of Fame. Served as the UIC at more than 20 ASA nationals. An accomplished clinician, Finley received a certificate of appreciation from the Department of Army for patriotic civilian services for his Far East clinic in 1973. Twice he was selected to give clinics overseas in Germany and Southeast Asia. Received outstanding umpire award from the All-American Umpire School. Also, an outstanding football official, he was selected to work the Oklahoma state playoffs 11 times and once officiated two classes in one year. Also officiated the prestigious Oil Bowl four times. Also was a basketball official during his career. In 1992, was inducted into the Oklahoma Officials Hall of Fame. Was born July 12, 1932.
Mike Gouin, Canton, Michigan – Men’s Slow Pitch – Outfield
Even while attending college at Eastern Michigan, Mike Gouin showed he belonged playing slow pitch with the top players in the 1970s. In fact, Gouin walked away with the MVP honors in the 1970 Men’s Open Slow Pitch National Championship helping Little Caesars win the title. Gouin earned the award by batting .730—second highest in the tourney—with 19 hits in 26 at-bats, driving in 11 runs and hitting six homers. This helped him finish the season with an overall .685 batting average. Four year earlier, Gouin had helped Michael’s Lounge, also from Detroit, win the national title as he batted .500 (12-for-24) and was a first-team All-America. Before his 22-year career (1959-1980) was over, Gouin made All-America two more times: 1967 and 1973. In the latter national tourney, Gouin batted .744 (32-for-43) with seven homers, 22 RBIs and 25 runs scored. Gouin batted .630 with three homers and 14 RBIs in the 1972 national as Caesars dropped to seventh place. Born May 13, 1943 in Wayne, MI, Gouin has served as a player rep and district commissioner for the Detroit ASA. In 1984, he was one of the original members inducted into the Detroit ASA Hall of Fame.
Charles “Sonny” Keeble, Jacksonville, Florida – Manager
Started coaching girls’ softball in 1967 and continued to coach for next 17 years. During that time led Jacksonville, FL Rebellettes to eight top five finishes in nine ASA nationals including winning the 15-under national slow pitch title in 1979. Team also won 15 Jacksonville Metro titles. Because of health reasons, Keeble was forced to retire from coaching in 1983. In 1986 he had open heart surgery. His teams won more than 1,500 games. Keeble died on January 12, 2014.
Andrew S. Loechner, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania – Commissioner
Served as president of the ASA from 1986-1987. Named Pennsylvania ASA commissioner in 1973 and led that association to the pinnacle of the ASA membership ladder. Has served on numerous ASA committees, including Finance Chairman for eight years and chairman of the Foreign Relations and Membership. In 1985, was elected to the Pennsylvania ASA Hall of Fame. Was men’s coordinator at the 1978 U.S. Olympic Festival. Besides being involved in softball domestically, he travels throughout the world serving as the secretary-general of the International Softball Federation. He was elected to that position in 1987. Was born July 24, 1930. In 1997, was elected to the ISF Hall of Fame.
Joe Lynch, Nashville, Tennessee – Men’s Fast Pitch – Pitcher
Called by one sportswriter, the “Bear that walks like a man,” Lynch stood 6-foot-3 and weighed more than 230 pounds when he pitched between 1959-1981. During his career, Lynch won 576 games, lost 94, hurled 14 no-hitters, 61 perfect games and 14 games in which he struck out all 21 batters. Between 1965-1969 he hurled for the Aurora, IL Sealmasters and had an unbeaten year (35-0) in his first year. He struck out 477 batters and walked 47, finishing with a 0.24 ERA. In the national tourney, Aurora gave Joe the ball and he responded by allowing only 13 hits in 35 innings in five games, walking 11 and striking out 58 to finish with a 0.29 ERA. Joe also won the tourney MVP award that year and extended his winning streak to 53 games before suffering a loss July 20, 1966. With the national championship, the Sealmasters earned the right to represent the USA in the first ISF Men’s World Championship. They won the gold medal easily and Lynch fanned seven batters in two and two-thirds innings. Repeating as ASA national champ in 1967, Lynch went 3-0 with 28 strikeouts and three walks Aurora again repeated as World champion. In the event Lynch won three games, did not allow any runs in 22 innings, and struck out 45. Joe joined Clearwater in 1970 and remained through the 1974 season. He returned to play for Clearwater in 1977 before retiring after the 1981 season. In 14 ASA nationals, Lynch had a 24-10 won-loss record. Lynch was born January 22, 1942 in Nashville, TN.
Carl Walker, Detroit, Michigan – Men’s Fast Pitch – Outfield
Growing up in Detroit, MI, Carl Walker was 5-feet tall and weighed 115 pounds as a high school senior in 1954. One would have never imagined Walker would have developed into one of fast pitch softball’s all-time power hitters and RBI producers. But people have been wrong before and they were wrong about Walker, who grew to 5-feet 10 1/2 inches and weigh more than 200 pounds. By 20 Walker was getting the notice of baseball scouts, and in particular the Chicago Cubs, who figured Walker could hit a baseball with the same regularity and power that he hit a softball. But nothing materialized and Walker ended up playing in the “Major Leagues” of fast pitch softball for Club 500, Local 57 of Providence, Nothdurft Tool and Die of Detroit, and the Raybestos Cardinals. Walker played in 14 nationals and earned All-America honors 10 times. He batted .309 (63-for-204) in the nationals, hitting eight homers and driving in 46 runs. He also played in 10 Men’s Major Fast Pitch All-Star Series and batted .250 with two homers in the 1976 ISF World Championship. Walker was a member of three national championship teams (1969, 1970 and 1972) and two runners-up. He twice led Raybestos in batting: 1967 (.325) and 1969 (.369). He had a lifetime .351 average with the Cardinals and a slugging percentage of .818. He holds Cardinal records for most homers in a season, 23 in 1968; most homers in a career, 120, most RBIs in a season, 83 in 1970 and most RBIs in a career (473). Walker died on June 26, 2017.
Eddie Zolna, Chicago, Illinois – Men’s Slow Pitch – Pitcher
If there is a player synonymous with 16-inch slow pitch softball, it is Eddie Zolna. For almost four decades Zolna was the most recognizable player in 16-inch softball. He led his team, the Bobcats, to 12 ASA national titles, including the very first 16″ ASA National Championship in 1964. Zolna also garnered three MVP accolades during his playing days and earned All-American honors six times. Zolna died on January 20, 2015.